INTO THE BLACK

The mark of leadership is an understanding of sacrifice

Thaddeus Howze

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If it is my duty to guide my sailors on their floating citadel at sea, then let me always consider them first. Without them, I lead a city of steel without a heart.

If it is a betrayal to err on the side of life, then let me be the first to err, for my crew is my life. Without a crew, our warship is naught but a hollow threat.

Most importantly, if I am to rain destruction upon my nation's enemies, if it is my life's work to defend my nation, then let it be that my nation is worth defending.

If I have sacrificed everything I have to defend my nation, then it is my honor to surrender my life in the line of duty.

If it is my nation's will that I die in battle, I will queue up and leap willingly into said jaws, choking my enemy with every fiber of my being, every atom of my will.

All I ever ask is my leaders understand the sacrifice we make. The families we don't see, the rigors of preparation, the isolation and madness of waiting to a battle we pray never comes. A battle which should it ever truly arrive will define the future of our world.

On humble shoulders such a great weight always sits. Never casual, the threat of such is always around us, in us, under us, in our work, in every effort, lies the threat of the end of the world.

All I ask is my leaders consider the lives of my crew the same way I do, each unique, valuable, irreplaceable fragments of our nation's best and brightest lights; those citizens who place the values of the nation above their own existence.

A value worth recognizing; a value worth protecting. I value I see personally every day I am honored to work and live with them. To command them. To rely on them. To send them willingly to death.

All I ask is my leaders value the commitment of these brave individuals who grouse, complain, fight, love, hate, live and die to be free from tyranny. A tyranny we are supposed to fight against, not become.

Any leader who cannot understand it is the men and women aboard the machine, not the machine itself which fights the wars, any leader who cannot recognize to demean the spirit of those warriors is…

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